Archive for December, 2007

NBA teams up with Joost to provide "classic" content, highlights from current season

joost nbaThe National Basketball Association has joined Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League on Joost, the broadcast-quality Internet television service.

The NBA and Joost announced today the launch of the NBA Channel, which will provide fans around the world with access to “Instant Classic” games and video highlight packages for the remainder of the 2007-2008 season. Content also includes a variety of “Top 10” lists from the NBA Video Vault.

“By making games, highlights and shows available on Joost, the NBA is ensuring that its fans can enjoy the action where they want, when they want, while simultaneously interacting with other fans around the world,” said Yvette Alberdingk Thijm, Joost executive vice president for content strategy and acquisition

The NBA deal comes months after a similar partnership was negotiated between Joost and Major League Baseball. Joost also offers a channel for the NHL.

The addition of the NBA on Joost is another example of a major U.S. professional sports league evolving its Internet and new media strategies to reach beyond its Website to provide its content and brand to as many distribution channels as possible.

MTV to premiere Britney's latest video on Web first

britneyFor the second time in the past seven days, MTV Networks has chosen an alternative distribution method for new content. This time, MTV will premier Britney Spears’ new music video “Piece of Me” exclusively on its Web site.

Starting Friday at 11 p.m. ET, will showcase “Piece of Me”, the second video off Spears’ recently released album “Blackout”, for 48 hours. Afterward, the video will go into rotation on MTV’s cable TV channels.

Just last week, Paramount Pictures and MTV announced they were using a different distribution strategy for the latest movie in the Jackass franchise, “Jackass 2.5.” It will be streamed free of charge before being released later on download-to-own services such as iTunes and Blockbuster’s Movielink and DVD.

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Internet TV: 2007 year in review

From YouTube’s continued dominance, the television networks’ newfound willingness to experiment online, the rise of the desktop Internet TV application, and a number of new PC-to-TV devices and set-top boxes — it’s been a big year for Internet TV in all shapes and forms. In this post we look back at 2007 through the lens of last100’s coverage, highlighting some of the important stories and trends, and how they point to what we might expect for Internet TV in 2008.

Also see: Digital music: 2007 year in review

YouTube dominates

YouTube logoWhile the market for Internet TV is growing steadily — survey after survey shows that people are consuming more video online than ever before — as 2007 draws to an end, Google-owned YouTube is still the number one video destination site.

This isn’t just true in terms of traffic but also in terms of “mind share”; when people talk about online video they often refer only to YouTube. As a result, a number of hardware companies have added YouTube support to their devices in 2007, such as YouTube-compatible cameras and mobile phones capable of viewing and publishing video to YouTube.

And then there’s the strong relationship between Google and Apple, which this year has led to YouTube support being added to both the AppleTV and iPhone, with a change in the video format to boot. Apple successfully persuaded YouTube to start re-encoding its video catalog to the much higher quality (and Apple-preferred) H.264 codec.

Not one to rest on its laurels, YouTube introduced a number of new features of their own, including a redesiged player, the introduction of interactive overlay ads, better copyright filtering, and — like many Google properties — improvements to its mobile offering.

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Weekly wrapup, 10 – 14 December 2007

Here’s a summary of the week’s digital lifestyle action on last100. Note that you can subscribe to the weekly wrapups, either via the special weekly wrapup RSS feed or by email.

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Top digital lifestyle news

Radiohead have ended their pay-what-you-want experiment. Fans can no longer purchase “In Rainbows” as a digital download from the band’s website as they gear up for a general CD release of their new album.

The pay-what-you-want model lives on, however, as comedian Steve Hofstetter is asking fans to name their own price for his latest album “The Dark Side of the Room”.

In Internet TV-related news, providing more evidence of their anybody-but-iTunes strategy, shows from NBC will be available on Fanfare, SanDisk’s newly launched Windows-only video download service. The initial content lineup will include “The Office”, “Heroes” and “30 Rock.” Meanwhile, Vudu’s set-top box (see our review) has landed some television content of its own. TV episodes from Fox are now available for purchase priced at $1.99 each (the same price as TV shows on Apple’s iTunes Store). The lineup covers twelve shows including “24″, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Family Guy”, and “My Name is Earl”.

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Comedian Hofstetter experiments with pay-what-you-want — and provides numbers

hofstetter dark side of the roomOne frustrating aspect of the Radiohead pay-what-you-want experiment is the lack of definitive numbers — yet. ComScore says this, Radiohead says that, the record industry says this, the artists say that.

The Radiohead experiment is now old news, but that doesn’t mean others will not attempt their own experiments. Following in the footsteps of Radiohead, Steve Hofstetter, an up and coming comedian with a strong Internet following among high school and college-age kids, has released his latest album “The Dark Side of the Room” on his Website. He’s believed to be the first comedian to take a pay-what-you-want approach.

Hofstetter’s last CD, “Cure For the Cable Guy”, reached No. 20 on the Billboard comedy charts, and he’s performed on VH1, Showtime, ESPN, and others, as well as his work being available at his Website and on YouTube. He’s extremely popular on MySpace and Facebook with hundreds of thousands of friends.

Hofstetter is no Radiohead, mind you, but it’s interesting to see all sorts of known, somewhat-known, and unknown artists experiment with the pay-what-you-want model.  What’s nice is that Hofstetter has provided real numbers:

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Of all movies, "Jackass 2.5" is first released straight to the Internet

jackassworldSteven Soderbergh is being followed by a Jackass.

Soderbergh, the acclaimed director of such hits as “Erin Brockovich”, “Ocean’s Eleven”, and “Traffic”, tested the traditional delivery method of Hollywood films by debuting the low-budget 2006 movie “Bubble” simultaneously in theaters, on HDNet, and four days later on DVD.

Soderbergh’s experiment was a far cry from the usual practice of debuting a major film in theaters first. One slight deviation has been films released straight to DVD, but those are usually low-budget, low-brow entertainment.

Now Paramount Pictures is releasing what it says is the first studio-backed feature film to premier online. On Dec. 19, the studio will make the latest installment in the “Jackass” franchise — the cleverly-named “Jackass 2.5” — available through Blockbuster’s Movielink service (The New York Times).

“Jackass 2.5” will include footage left over from “Jackass 2”, which earned more than $70 million at the box office, and new antics before “Jackass 3” is released in 2008. “There’s more vomiting, nudity, and defecation,” one executive told The NYT. “The stuff that consumers really want.”

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TV industry using piracy as a measure of success

This is a guest post by Guinevere Orvis. Guinevere is a Web Producer in Toronto, Canada working both freelance and in the broadcast industry for Alliance Atlantis, CTVglobemedia and currently CBC. She has 10 years experience in the online space and specializes in social media, online marketing and content production.

seeders.pngIf you’re a TV exec, there’s a magical number that you worship to measure your show’s success… those digits handed down on high from Neilsen ratings. Traditionally, little else mattered, but the television landscape is drastically changing. Is it time our success measurement tools change too?

Our online audience numbers have grown to a level where they’re demanding serious attention. Show promotions, trailers and clips that broadcasters are pushing on YouTube and other video sharing sites are getting more views than some shows do. Television is reaching a milestone where online is veritably driving on air viewership. Neilsen TV isn’t the only game in town anymore. If we are going to understand what our audience wants, we have to consider a bigger picture.

So, if YouTube numbers matter, what about members on a Facebook fan group? What about mashups and fan art? How about BitTorrent downloads? Yeah you heard me: maybe we should use unsanctioned downloads of our shows as a measurement of legitimate demand.

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Life is good for Apple's iPhone

timeEverything is progressing just fine for Apple’s iPhone, as it was named Time Magazine’s Gadget of the Year and two reports state it’s on schedule for an expected update in 2008 with the possibility of overtaking the venerable iPod in sales by 2009.

Time, however, underestimates the impact of the iPhone. It says, “The iPhone changed the way we think about how mobile media devices should look, feel, and perform.”

No argument there.

But as we’ve said all along, the significance of the iPhone is greater than the device itself. It, along with Google’s mobile effort and Nokia’s activities, will change the face of the U.S. mobile-phone industry as early as 2008. No other device on Time’s list — from the Nikon Coolpix to the Belkin N1Vision Wi-Fi Router — even comes close to having that kind of impact.

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Radiohead ends experiment, heads for traditional distribution. Was it a success?

radiohead 300Radiohead’s grand “In Rainbows” experiment ended this week. Whether it has been a success, only Radiohead and its management knows. Everybody else can argue about it.

But one thing is for certain: Radiohead put in motion, as The New York Times notes, “the most audacious experiment in years.”

Radiohead is no longer selling the album as a download from the Web site

“It’s been the most positive thing we’ve done,” Radiohead’s frontman Thom Yorke said. “We hope you shared the experience with others.”

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NBC episodes lands on SanDisk's Fanfare service; Vudu adds TV shows from Fox

NBC episodes lands on SanDisk's Fanfare serviceMore evidence of NBC Universal’s anybody-but-iTunes strategy comes with news that the company is partnering with SanDisk. Reuters reports that as of January new shows from NBC’s broadcast network and cable channels will be available on Fanfare, SanDisk’s newly launched Windows-only video download service. The initial content lineup will include “The Office”, “Heroes” and “30 Rock.”

Fanfare, in combination with SanDisk’s TakeTV device, offers a way of getting paid-for video content downloaded via a PC onto a television. We’ve previously covered TakeTV, where we described it as taking a much simpler approach compared to the many media extenders on the market by negating the need for a home network. “Instead, content is physically shuttled from a PC to a TV via a dedicated USB stick and docking station.”

Fox on VuduMeanwhile, Vudu’s set-top box (see our review) has landed some television content of its own. Crave reports that, as of today, TV episodes from Fox are available for purchase priced at $1.99 each, the same price as TV shows on Apple’s iTunes Store. The lineup covers twelve shows including “24”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Family Guy”, and “My Name is Earl”.